Matthew Barney, a featured artist in Season Two of Art:21‚ÄîArt in the Twenty-First Century, is one of the most celebrated artists of his generation. His practice encompasses a diverse selection of media including drawing, sculpture, photography, performance, film and installation, which are presented in exhibitions that are conceived by the artist as a Gesamtkunstwerk or total work.
Barney‚Äôs current exhibition, which is entitled Matthew Barney: DRAWING RESTRAINT, is on view at the Serpentine Gallery, London. The exhibition explores the sculptural cycle related to his recent feature film, Drawing Restraint 9. On display are works from the film, which he began in 1987 while still in art school. Inspired by the idea of resistance training, he applied restraints to his body while drawing, exhibiting the resulting drawings, props and video documentation of the performances in the spaces where the actions had taken place. The Drawing Restraint series investigates the relationship between resistance and creativity and artistic and athletic bodies working at the threshold of physical limitations.
More recent works in the series continue to explore ways in which the body can be transformed, incorporating scripted narratives and diverse references ranging from Greek mythology to Japanese tea ceremonies and whaling.
Barney has also made a new work; Drawing Restraint 16, for the Serpentine. Drawings and other residue of this performance fill the Gallery‚Äôs large central space.